Do you know which tourist attraction in Lithuania provides the toughest competition with the popular Trakai Castle? It’s the bronze bust of Frank Zappa inspired by artist Saulius Paukštys.
The photographer received permission from the Municipality of Vilnius to create the bust by collecting more than 300 signatures and claiming to have communicated and corresponded with the famous musician.
Sculptor Konstantinas Bogdanas created the sculpture for free. It was first intended to be erected next to M. K. Čiurlionis Art Gymnasium, but teachers resisted because the sculpture resembled Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis. Instead, the monument was placed at the Centre Clinic where it was unveiled during a brass band performance on 17 December 1995.
The true history of the monument was only revealed in 2010 when S. Paukštys and Saulius Pilinkus donated a copy of the monument to the musician's hometown of Baltimore. And after hearing this story, Zappa's son admitted that it would certainly please his father. Whatever the strange circumstances behind the placing of Zappa’s bust in Vilnius, the sculpture has proven to be very successful. The bust of F. Zappa is visited more by foreign tourists than Trakai Castle.
It symbolises the end of the Communist era, along with Lithuania's aspiration to integrate into Western culture and cherish the traditions of artistic expression and freedom of speech. Frank Zappa (1940-1993) was an American composer, singer, guitarist and film director, famous for his distinctive style, and often referred to as the father of modern music. Zappa’s music combines features of rock, jazz, avant-garde and electronic music, and is rich in elements of parody. The musician is recognised as one of the most outstanding composers of the last century.